Google: 15 per cent of malware is fake anti-virus software

IT security

There has been a rise in the prevalence of fake antivirus (AV) software, which now accounts for 15 per cent of all malware on the web, a report by Google researchers has shown.

The team claimed that fake AV software is responsible for half of all malware delivered through online adverts, representing a 500 per cent rise in a year.

In their analysis of 240 million web pages collected by Google's malware detection infrastructure over 13 months, the researchers found that more than 11,000 domains were involved in distributing fake AV.

Back in January last year, the team identified only 93 unique fake AV domains, but this rose to 587 in the final week of January 2010.

"As users are becoming increasingly aware of the need to secure their computers, attackers have been leveraging this awareness by employing social engineering techniques to distribute fake AV software," the researchers said.

"Fake AV attacks continue to persist, demanding increased awareness and broader response from the research community at large."

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.